Thursday, September 30, 2004

Entertainers are often more entertaining when they do not intend to be than when they do. For example, I do not have any interest in the music of Madonna. I am interested in her as a cultural phenomenon. That is, I am interested in why other people like her and how she reacts to that and what that means about the heart of men and women.

You may know that Madonna's lastest fad is a religion of sorts. She embraced Kabbala, the mystical branch of Judaism. It is perfect for show business folks, for it is mysterious and you have to go someplace special to learn about it, and if you get special knowledge it makes you better than everyone else, which makes it perfect for show business people.

Most show business people, and many Americans of all stripes, embrace things by incorporating some small part of it into their lives. They may never read the book or learn the rules, but will calls themselves followers based on an article in a magazine saying some actor embraced it.

Madonna actually went to Israel and spent some time with a mystic rabbi. Now, she has adopted a new name to reflect her new identity. Her new name is Esther. That is very funny.

Why is it funny? Because Esther is not a Jewish name. It is a Persian name. Remember how the Jews were conquered by the Babylonians, then the Babylonians were conquered by the Persians? Well, you, as the "conqueree", often had to adopt a name in the culture in which you lived, even if your family called you by your Jewish name.

That is the case with the young woman in the Bible. Esther 1:7 says about Mordecai, "he was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father nor mother." The beautiful Jewish girl that won the heart of the Persian king was named Hadassah among the Jews. Her Persian name was Esther.

Maybe Madonna could record a song "Walk Like A Persian" or something, in honor of her new name and identity.
SET BACK FOR THE RELIGION OF PEACE. Remember the Muslims who attacked the U. S. S. Cole, blowing up a speedboat full of explosives? The attack, orchestrated by al Qaeda, killed 17 American sailors, including 3 Texans. A court in Yemen has convicted two of the terrorists and sentenced them to death by firing squad. Those Yemeni's know how to get it done, don't they? Jamal al-Badawi from Yemen and Abd al-Rahim al-Hashiri, from Saudi Arabia, were convicted and sentenced. After the verdict, al-Badawi said "All the Muslims of the world serve American interests".

The terrorists can be comforted by knowing that, somewhere in the world, those who share their desire to turn the world back to the 6th century sand pile of Arabia have won on another front. Saudi Arabia has banned camera phones. The already ban women from driving, so that is one place you can go and drive to work without dodging women talking on cell phones. They also make women cover from head to toe when going out. I wonder how much they go out, since they must walk or get their husband to drive them. If you had four wives, and none could drive, you could do a lot of driving. You'd have to talk on your cell phone to get anything done. So, in Saudi Arabia, you have to dodge men talking on cell phones if you drive to work. But, at least you know they aren't taking your picture from their cell phone.
EXPLOSIVE SITUATION. You can go here to see a live camera shot of Mt. St. Helens. Last time I went there, the picture was off. Hope that is not a bad sign.
REALLY SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. If you were an Old Testament prophet, you might have some new sermon material. Isn't it interesting that, as we approach election time, we have had hurricanes and, now, a volcano? Scientists say Mount Saint Helens is about to erupt again. About four times per minute, an earthquake of the 2.0 - 2.8 variety occurs. This can weaken the lava dome, the cork in the bottle so to speak. The Geological Survey raised the eruption advisory to Level 3, the second highest level. Matthew 24:7 said there would be famines and earthquakes, but it was not time yet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

APOLOGIA. Rudy Giuliani to President Bush: "I owe you an apology. I made a mistake during my (Republican National Convention) speech . . . I said that with 64 days to go, John Kerry could change his mind five or six times about what to do in Iraq. Well, he's already changed his mind four or five times and I'm going to be proven wrong again because I think we're looking more like eight or nine times."

FYI: The Pew Research Center shows the President leading 48-40. Among high school graduates, he leads 50-37. Smart People vote for Bush! He leads among Catholics 49-39.

How do young people vote? The Washington Post-ABC poll of 18-30 year olds show the President leading 53-41. They favor the President on Iraq 60-33, on terrorism 59-35, on America being more secure 60-31, and on being a leader 65-25.

Some Democrat candidates down line are distancing themselves from their presidential nominee. Even Tom Daschle, who obstructed the vote for judicial nominees. Daschle is running for his life against Thune, and is now running a commercial that shows him hugging the President.

So, who votes for the Democratic candidate for president? People over the age of 61 favor him. Blacks favor him. However, while 90% of Blacks favored Al Gore, Kerry pulls 73%.

Kerry is even losing the hair battle. He bragged that he and that guy that is supposedly running as his vice president that we never see had the best hair, but a recent survey found people preferred Bush's hair.

What's a limousine liberal to do?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

WHO SAID THIS? "While our actions should be thoughtfully and carefully determined and structured, while we should always seek to use peaceful and diplomatic means to resolve serious problems before resorting to force, and while we should always seek to take significant international actions on a multilateral rather than a unilateral basis whenever that is possible, if in th final analysis we face what we truly believe to be a grave threat to the well-being of our Nation or whe entire woorld and it cannot be removed peacefully, we must have the courage to do what we believe is right and wise.

I believe this is such a situation, Mr. President. It is a time for resolve. Tomorrow we must make that clear to the Security Council and to the world."

Who said this? John Kerry gave this speech on the Senate floor on November 9, 1997 after Iraq made weapons inspectors leave the country. He was right then, and the President is right now.

(I know the sound of the other shoe dropping was not loud, but flip flops are light weight.)

Monday, September 27, 2004

ASSAULTING YOUR INTELLIGENCE. You gotta love it. John Kerry voted for the assault weapon ban. He criticized the President for letting it lapse. Then he tells Outdoor Life magazine his favorite gun is an Chinese assault rifle. This is tantamount to admitting to a federal crime, since he had it during the ban. I'm sure he doesn't think the law applies to rich liberals.

I can't decide if the guy is so brazen and arrogant he thinks no one will notice these contradictions, or if he is so stupid he can't keep track of his stories. Either way, it does not make good material for a president.

The good news today is MSNBC shows that, if the election were held today, the President would win by a sizeable electoral college margin.
THE BOSS IS BACK. I did come back to good news. My boss is running for yet another term! Woo haa! Four more years, four more years. Anyway, it'll cost me some money, but it'll be worth it. A new boss might decide to bring in new people, you know, out with the old, in with the new. I am part of the old. Plus, the higher you rise, the more likely you are to be knocked off with a new regime. So, I am happy for him to run. Run, Tim, run! Plus, he is a good D. A. and a good boss. I respect him and consider it an honor to have worked for him for 14 years.
AIR TRAVEL. I just got back from the State Capitol, having flown down for a meeting with the Texas Department of Insurance. Austin is just far away enough to be a hassle. It is a long day to drive, but I am not sure flying is better. It took me one and a half hours to get to the airport during rush hour (that is half way to Austin driving, plus you can stop at Starbucks in Waco). I had to take off my suit coat and shoes to get through security.

On the way back, I had to literally run throught the airport to make the plane as they were closing the door. Security is less strict in Austin. Then, the return flight came to a different terminal than I left from, so I had to take the train thing to my terminal. I ended up next to a guy that would have been a natural for a horror movie. And, he decided to talk to me all the way. He had this strange, stretched skin, and protruding teeth, just like a horror actor. I was trying hard to be polite, but I kept thinking, is this guy going to kill me and stuff my body with old Fort Worth newspapers and mount me in his smelly apartment?

Finally, the train creeped into my terminal, then I had to walk for two miles to my car.

The meeting lasted an hour.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

THE POPE HAS A BEAM IN HIS EYE. The Pope has condemned the imbalance between rich and poor and backs the United Nations effort to end poverty, including international taxes. Communistic, but you know, you expect the Pope to advocate for the poor and hungry even if the ideas are bad. The fun part is, he made the announcement from his "summer castle"! Heh heh.

Raise you hands, now. How many of you have a summer castle?

I think the Pope might read that teaching of Jesus about taking the beam out of your eye before criticizing the splinter in someone elses's. The Catholic Church has huge riches, including zillions of dollars of real estate, art, antiquities, and plain old money. Even after it pays the judgments for all the child sexual abuse committed by its priests, it will still have millions upon millions.

Here is a thought. We'll call him the Rich Old Ruler and advise him to sell all the church has and give it to the poor, and then follow Christ. And then we'll listen to him talk about how to end poverty.

Remember the story of the young priest who first saw all the riches of the Vatican, and said "I guess we can no longer say with Peter,' silver or gold have I none'." And the older priest said "Yes, but neither can we say' rise up and walk.' "

OH MOMMA. I read an interview of author Erica Jong, who is famous for writing Fear of Flying and other things. She said she was an excellent mother. Then she mentioned that her daughter is a bulimic, alchoholic, cocaine addict who has attempted suicide. I used to hear that the proof was in the pudding.
COMES AROUND. Amjad Hussain Faroogi, who took part in the kidnapping of reporter Daniel Pearl, leading to his beheading, was killed in a shootout with para-military police in Pakistan.

Friday, September 24, 2004

JONATHAN EDWARDS RESOLUTION #61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and firmly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it. 2 Timothy 2:4-6.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

HAVING A GAY OLD TIME IN AMERICA. The Episcopal Church continues its internal battle over homosexuality. In Newport Beach, California, the St. James church withdrew from its diocese because the diocese supported the ordination of the openly practicing homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson, of New Hampshire. The Diocese is expressing its Christian love by suing the church for the property, hymnals, and prayer books.

The Reverend at St. James said the leaders of the Episcopal Church have moved from being those who upheld the historic teachings, which have been embraced for 2,000 years by all the denominations, to a church that has come to question their validity. True Enough.

The denomination appointed a commission to study and, optimistically I think, resolve the Anglican Communion's crisis over homosexual issues. The commission said it will report on Oct. 18. The chair is Irishman Robin Eames. (They call him a primate. I don’t really know what that means and assume the do not use the term as Richard Leakey would. That is one good thing about being a Baptist. There are fewer titles to learn. Really, only pastor and deacon are used, and often pejoratively.)

The Anglican Communion is an association of independent national churches. They all come from the Church of England originally, thanks to Henry VIII, who wanted a divorce the pope would not give him. But not to have a homosexual marriage. Even Henry the VIII wouldn't do that.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury, sort of the pope of Anglicans, is in a tough spot to claim neutrality, as he knowingly ordained a homosexual priest when he was a bishop.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles actually sued three parishes that aligned with Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, leader of Uganda's 8 million-member church, who has criticized the ordination. It wants its property back.

On the other side of the country, New England continues to prove it is more liberal than most of the rest of the country, possibly except California, as the Vermont Episcopal Diocese became the first in America develop a liturgy for homosexual marriages. I guess they won’t quote the scripture that a man shall leave his mother and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh. The diocese brags about having the liturgy and the theological background for it. My guess is the theological background does not quote the Apostle Paul, either. Just as a footnote, the director of communications for the diocese, that is, the P.R. person, is a lesbian and a participant in one of the new marriages.

Vermont was the first state to offer legal homosexual marriages. And to think, I always thought those guys in the flannel shirts were going into the woods to hunt. (Oh, and yes I know they call them unions and not marriages, but even I am not that naïve.)

On the federal level, the Senate voted 65-33 Tuesday to give homosexuals protection under the federal hate crime law. A senator from Oregon said "When someone is being stoned in the public square, we should all come to their rescue.” I didn’t know we’d been able to do that. (I know, in Oregon, if you’re old and you’re still too long, you might get euthanized.)

Sen. Teddy Kennedy lead the fight, calling hate crimes "domestic terrorism” One news source said the senator urged the administration to swing behind the proposal. I’m not sure that was a good choice of words. But, old Ted might have slurred his words.

In good old political fashion, Kennedy attached the hate crimes bill to a $422 billion defense bill. The good news is the House will likely kill this. And that is not a hate crime.

MORE BAD POLL NEWS FOR KERRY. The polls continue to deliver bad news for Mr. Kerry. Friday, Gallup showed him behind the President by 13 points. USA Today has the President ahead by 13 points. As a matter of fair play, say as opposed to acting like Dan Rather, I must mention that the Pew poll has the President ahead by only one point.

Another interesting poll is Knight Ridder - MSNBC, which polled the "swing" states, those not thought to be clear winners for either candidate and that could swing the election one way or the other. Most of these are showing clear preference for the President at this point, some 40 days or so before the election. Arizona favors Mr. Bush by 11 points, Missouri by 7 points, Nevada by 5 points, New Hampshire by 9 points, and Ohio by 7 points. West Virginia is a dead heat, showing the President ahead by one point. Florida cannot be accurately polled at the moment. There is that matter of multiple hurricanes. You would have to assume the President will be touring and promising federal aid to that ravaged state where his brother is the governor.

Here is another interesting fact. Three out of four supporters of the President say they like him. Only 4 out of 10 of Mr. Kerry's supporters like him; the rest vote for him because they do not like the President.

Another interesting fact is that four out of five people said past military sservice will not matter in their vote. That pretty much kills Mr. Kerry's strategy of touting his questionable Vietnam service and questioning the President's service. It's too bad Mr. Kerry didn't take that poll himself a little earlier in the contest.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

RELIGION NEWS III. A 72 year old woman was killed Wednesday when a seven foottall metal cross fell on her head in A woman was killed Wednesday when a nearly 7-foot-tall metal crucifix fell on her head in Sant'Onofrio, a small town in southern Italy. I don't think this is what Jesus meant when he said to take up his cross.
RELIGION NEWS II. The Religion Of Peace is at it again. Lebanon's authorities arrested 10 members of an Al-Qaeda-linked group planning to blow up the Italian embassy in Beirut using a car bomb.
RELIGION NEWS. Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart is in the news again. He likes a lot of attention, and like an unruly child, he would rather have negative attention than no attention at all.

Swaggart is back on television in some markets, evidently including Canada, where it is illegal to criticize homosexuals. It is a hate crime. I think you can condemn evangelists, as long as they are not homosexual.

In the broadcast, Swaggart said "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry." This does not seem to be a problem, as there was no line outside the door. He also said "And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died."

This played well to the audience in Baton Rouge, which probably swallowed a large amount tobacco juice while laughing. However, in more, uh, sensitive Canada, they were offended. And, when you get down to it, it is not really what we want to say from the Christian pulpit, is it Jimbo? I mean, remember that deal preachers always use about hate the sin and love the sinner? Of course, that doesn’t get the laugh meter running.

When Sensitive Canadians complained, however, Swaggart back pedaled. He said "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology." That is sort of like saying I’m sorry you let your feelings get hurt by what I said. And who could get offended by someone saying they'd kill you and tell God you died, anyway? Maybe we should change the words of Shakespeare to "first, let's kill all the t.v. evangelists".

Gay people are fussing about this all over America. That loud thump you heard was a collective stamping of the foot. But, what do you expect from a guy like this in Baton Rouge?

Swaggart does not mind women, however. His ministry is largely diminished because of his 1987 sex scandal with a prostitute in a motel in New Orleans. His staff would even drive him over there. A few years later, police in California pulled him over and found a prostitute in there with him. Maybe he was starting a collection. Or maybe she was protecting him against all the homosexual men who wanted to marry him.

Monday, September 20, 2004

THAT OUGHT TO DO IT. Well, it's over. It's all over but the shouting, as my mom used to say. Madonna has called for world peace. Who could resist? I mean, when an Italian singer from New York who lives in England and practices Kabbala visits Israel and calls for world peace while wearing her red string around her wrist to ward off the evil eye, how could anyone go on fighting? Reports are coming in from all over. The Serbs and Croats and Bosnians will no longer fight. Arab terrorists all over the world have laid down their arms. Osama has surrendered. The French surrendered. Again. The Indians and Pakistanis have embraced. The Nigerians have agreed to let Christians live and prosper. The Sudanese government has quit terrorizing its own people. The Hutus and the Tutsis are drinking from the same cup. The Lion lies down with the Lamb.

The U.N. ended its session today by singing "We Are The World" and Kofi took credit for the worldwide peace. Jimmy Carter said he knew it could happen once America admitted its guilt for the problems of the world. He even came back to the Southern Baptist Church.

What did the Beatles' song say? "Somebody spoke and I went in to a dream."

Madonna. Sheesh.
CALVINIST QUOTE OF THE DAY. "We are Calvinistic Baptists, and have no desire to sail under false colors, neither are we ashamed of our principles; if we were, we would renounce them tomorrow." C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle: Its History and Work. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1876). Page 4.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. Yet another famous blogger has taken a Sabbatical. Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping says he'll be off line at least 6-8 weeks. I have not gotten over Rachel Lucas and Ben Domenech quitting. I guess it wears you out over time. We'll see, won't we.

KERRY GORED. Evidently Al Gore's attacks on the President are not helping John Kerry in Mr. Gore's home state of Tennessee. Polls show the President ahead in Tennessee by 16 points today.

The poll also showed the people of Tennessee believe the President would do a better job handling the war in Iraq, handling terrorism and homeland security, and the the economy

Mr. Kerry's best showing was on the economy, where he trailed the President by 8 points.

This might be expected, as Mr. Gore did not carry his homestate against the President, either. Mr. Kerry might prefer that Mr. Gore go on vacation. But, it might not help. I suspect that Mr. Kerry is just too liberal for Tennessee.
MONDAY, MONDAY. I received a lovely new Gateway computer at work. It has a flat panel monitor that is very nice, with a sharp picture and bright colors. It is also updated with the newest version of Microsoft Office. I am trying to get used to it. Some problems occurred, of course. First, and still unresolved, Outlook continually locks up and has to be shut down. Bill Gates must already be tired of all the error reporting I've done. Second, Blogger would not recognize my password for the last 3 days. For some reason, it does this morning. So, without further um, I almost said a french word, delay, here are the Sunday School notes from yesterday's lesson, the first in Romans.


1:1-7 (The Greeting)

In this first passage, we learn three things about Paul, two things about the Gospel, and three things about Christ.


The three things we learn about Paul are that he was a servant of Christ, he was called to be an apostle, and was set apart for the gospel.

SERVANT – Paul considered himself a servant of Christ. The word he uses for “servant” means a slave, one who completely belongs to another and has no freedom to leave his master, an also one who willingly serves a master. He was one who was totally devoted to Christ, and used his life completely to serve him. He suffered greatly, but considered it an honor to join the sufferings of Christ. He went to prison and used it as a mission field. He died for his Lord after saying that to die is better for it would bring him into the presence of Jesus.

Paul told us in Philippians 2:7 that Christ took on the very nature of a servant when he came and dies on the cross, and said our attitude should be the same. Jesus expected us to be his servants. In John 12:25-26, He said “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE – The record of Paul’s conversion and commissioning is in Acts 9:1-18. Some things for you to notice in this passage are: (1) the resurrected Jesus revealed himself to Paul, which is the basis of Paul’s claim to apostleship; and (2) Jesus chose Paul to be his apostle to the Gentiles and to suffer.

The idea of people being “called” by God, into relationship with Him, runs throughout the Bible. God called Abraham to go and establish the people of God. He called Aaron to the priesthood. Jesus called the 12 to be apostles. Even today, we speak of ministers being called by God into service. Calvin said “We must here observe, that all are not fitted for the ministry of the word; for a special call is necessary: and even those who seem particularly fitted ought to take heed lest they thrust themselves in without a call.”

God gives grace, sometimes called gifts, to those he calls so that they can fulfill his calling of service to him and the church. Ephesians 4:7-13 is one list of these, including apostles. 1 Corinthians 12:28 speaks of God appointing apostles, then prophets, then teachers. God decides who will serve him, and in what capacity, and gives the grace necessary to fulfill that calling. In 2 Corinthians 1:1, Paul calls himself an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.

Jesus called Paul to the apostle to the Gentiles. In Romans 15:15-16 he refers to the
grace God gave him to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God

The New Testament also speaks of God calling us as believers into salvation and fellowship with Him. Jesus spoke of his sheep hearing his voice. God is the initiator in his relationship to us. Verse 7 refers to the believers in Rome as “called to be saints”.

The Reformers believed, and Reformed theology still teaches that this calling is always effective. That is, when God calls someone to him, they will come. They labeled it God's Irresistible Grace. A person feels the inward call of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word of God. This is based on verses such as John 6:37 and 44, where Jesus said “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” and “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

SET APART FOR THE GOSPEL – In Acts 22:14-16, Paul recounts his commissioning from Ananias in greater detail. He was told that God chose him to know his will, to see Jesus (the Righteous One) and to hear words from his mouth. Paul refers to this in Galatians 1:11-12, when he said “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. So, to those who try to separate the words of Jesus from the words of Paul, or to say the words of Paul are lesser, I say Paul’s words are the words of Christ and must be accepted.

Then, in Acts 13, Luke recounts the setting apart of Barnabas and Paul, then known as Saul, as what we would call missionaries. In Acts 13:2-3, it says “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Again we have the picture of God calling a person to ministry and the church recognizing and formalizing it.

Paul takes this “setting apart” even further in Galatians 1:15, where he says he was set apart from birth (NIV), literally from his mother’s womb. This is reminiscent of Jeremiah, who said the Lord told him “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (It is kind of interesting that Paul became a Pharisee, as the Pharisees were separated from the people by their desire to study and strictly follow the law – it is like he innately knew of his calling to be separated, but expressed in fleshly terms until the Lord revealed himself to Paul.

This book of Romans is Paul’s great explanation of the gospel. Paul was set apart from the rest of men to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles all over the Roman Empire.


This passage also tells us two things about the gospel itself: (1) it was promised beforehand; and (2) it concerns Jesus.

Paul says the gospel was promised by God through the prophets in the what we call the Old Testament. When the resurrected Jesus appeared to the two men on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:27 says he began with Moses and all the prophets and explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. When Paul explained the Scriptures in the synagogues, he was preaching about Christ from the Old Testament. That is the scripture they had. In Acts 13:13, he preached in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, explaining the Scripture beginning with the Israelites in Egypt. In verse 32, he said “We tell you the good news. What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”

We saw many instances of the promise of the gospel message in Isaiah.

Secondly, the gospel is about Jesus and his work on our behalf. That is why Paul preached only Jesus and him crucified. When we stray from this message, we cease to preach the gospel. Paul even said “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than wht you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” Galatians 1:9.


Finally, there are three things we learn about Christ in this passage. He was descended from David in his humanness, he was declared by the Resurrection to be the Son of God, and he gave grace and apostleship to Paul.

Jesus was born of Mary, who was of the lineage of David. This was important especially to the Jews, who realized God had promised a king on the throne of David and understood it to be the Messiah. So, the first words of the New Testament are “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David…” in Matthew 1:1. Luke records that the angel told Mary about Jesus “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David…and his kingdom will never end”. See Luke 1:32. In Peter’s first sermon, he said about David that “he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.” See Acts 2:30.

We also know that Jesus was raised from the dead, and Paul adds here that the resurrection was a declaration that he is the son of God. Psalm 2:7 says “He said to me ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’”

Paul says, in verse 5, that he received grace and apostleship from Jesus. He did not claim any entitlement or merit, but that God in grace brought him both salvation and apostleship. That grace was given him specifically to call people to Christ from among the Gentiles. You know, Jesus told Peter he (Jesus) would build his church and here you see him doing it, by commissioning Paul to this great work of evangelism. Do you see Jesus as actively involved in building the church and advancing the kingdom of God? That is the picture of him presented by the New Testament.

Paul acknowledges that those to whom he writes are loved by God and called to be saints. They are believers living in Rome. Paul has plans to go there after he goes to Jerusalem and while he is on his way to Spain. He wrote this letter to introduce himself and his message, to fully explain the gospel to those who had not heard him preach and teach in person.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

THE WARRIOR IS A CHILD\THE CHILD IS A WARRIOR. I dropped the Baby off at school today. She likes to be early for everything. She is helping to lead See You At The Pole today at her high school. As I drove off, she walked up to the flag pole, set her backpack down at its base, and stood there facing the world. I watched her in the mirror, standing like a sentinel for the Lord in front of her school, the lone warrior ready to lead the troops into battle, waiting for them to arrive. Then I got that feeling I always get. The eyes sting, the throat closes, and I thank God for the grace of children that follow him.

While I stopped for coffee, the College Daughter called. She is expecting a rough day and asked for her mother and I to pray for her. Again I could thank God for children that depend on Him and have faith that Mom and Dad will pray and God will answer and strength will come.

We worked to build our family around faith. We prayed, we read Bible stories, we went to church. The refridgerator was covered with macaroni crafts from Sunday School. We listened to memory verses, practiced Bible Drill, bought white dresses for Girls In Action Recognition, attended choir concerts, and sat by bedsides holding the hands of little girls and praying for whatever was the problem of the moment. It was all worth it and I would do it all again and I thank God for letting me do it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

CHURCH NEWS. In a small Assembly of God church, about 70 people met in a convention. Suddenly, the doors burst open and policmen streamed in, arresting everyone in sight. The Christians were taken away, blindfolded, and interrogated. Eventually, they were released. When and where did this happen? Was it in the old Soviet Union? No, it was last week in Iran.

In the Episcopal Church USA, the debate over fidelity to the Word continues to rage. It is cast in terms of homosexuality, and the ability of homosexuals to serve as bishops, but it involves the larger, more fundamental issue of obedience to the word. The ECUSA casts it as a debate between progressive liberalism and biblical orthodoxy. Can you guess who is winning? Since Mr. Robinson’s election a year ago, more than two-thirds of the world’s 77 million Anglicans withdrew from fellowship with the ECUSA. Many Anglicans have even called the American Episcopalians to repent. That is good news for the Anglican world and bad news for America.
Bishop Frank Griswold has said, from the pulpit in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, said "if scripture can only be read literally, classical Anglicanism is dead".

That will not make the Orthodox happy. All those devoted to the Bible strive to ready it literally, meaning they interpret it in the sense in which it was intended. After his sermon, Griswold specifically criticized those who read the scripture “literally” in interpreting the church’s position on homosexuality. He claimed the right to read the scripture in the light of one's immediate understanding of the Gospel. This goes with an earlier statement by one of the Bishops who said people in Bible times misunderstood homosexuality. The large and gaping hole in that theory is that God, who inspired his Word, understood it perfectly and called it sin. Most Anglicans believe homosexuality is a sin. Their constitution calls it incompatible to the scripture.

That does not mean we should persecute homosexuals, or fail to love them, minister to them, or witness to them. It does mean, if they are actively practicing, they are living in sin and rebellion to God and should not be leading congregations or groups of congregations. It is the same with any sin and anyone who lives a life devoted to a sin. A serial adulterer should not be a minister, for example. Episcopalians are voting with their feet and their checkbooks. In Virgiania alone, the diocese has a$900,000 budget shortfall. There is no sign so far that the bishops will bow to the will of the people if they cannot force them to accept a homosexual bishop.

On the other side of the world, 40,000 German Christians marched through Berlin last Saturday to commemorate the third anniversary of the terror attacks against the United States. Thanks to our German brothers and sisters. The Reverend Axel Nehlsen said “Jesus Day is an antidote against terrorism, violence and separation.” Amen!

Jesus Day' is a big Christian event in Germany. The march began at the Brandenburg gate and stopped at six political public places to pray. That is a big deal in such a secular place. They stopped near our embassy and prayed for the victims of the 9/11 attacks and other acts of terrorism, including the attack on a Russian school in Beslan. There was even a small group that met to express support for Israel and Messianic Jews and concern over anti-Semitism.

I like the idea of a Jesus Day. We should copy this in America. We could pick a city and gather, hundreds of thousands of us. We could pray for our country and our leaders. OK, actually this will happen tomorrow. Only, it will be teenagers all over the country meeting at school. They call it “See You At The Pole”. At the Baby’s high school, over 200 kids will likely gather at the flag pole in front of the school and pray and have a worship time. The Baby has already told the school principal of the plans. It is a sight to behold. If you have never seen it, drive to a high school tomorrow, stand a respectable distance away (this is by and for the kids, not adults) and feel the lump in your throat rise as you watch teenagers take a stand in front of their peers, their teachers, the press, and the world.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15.

Friday, September 10, 2004

CHANGING HORSES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREAM. The Democratic strategist who is John Kerry's closest adviser is Bob Shrum. This is an interesting choice. He is referred to by others in the business of having "The Curse". This refers Shrum's career of losing presidential campaigns. He has lost seven beginning with George McGovern and continuing to Al Gore. And, maybe, John Kerry will make eight.
Mr. Kerry is now down nine points leading Bush for much of the summer. This is despite continued fighting in Iraq and his party’s convention. His campaign is now compared to Al Gore’s.

This has got to make you worry about Mr. Kerry’s judgment. Why would you pick a guy with no wins and seven losses. It reminds me of the pitchers the Texas Rangers used to hire. I think their idea was, sure he never wins, but he was cheap.

It turns out former president Clinton has criticized the campaign, as has his former adviser James Carville. Kerry has responded by hiring several "Clintonistas" to help. I wonder what that will be like. Will Kerry start to "feel our pain"? Will he start having sex with his interns and campaign workers? Will he go on TV and angrily deny that there was anything wrong with this Vietnam, ah, service?

Kerry faces a risk here. If he switches horses, will that switch the message yet again? How many flip flops can he execute without executing himself? Clinton certainly flip flopped during his campaign. But, if I can borrow a line from a snide Lloyd Bentson, "I knew Mr. Clinton, and, Mr. Kerry, you are no Clinton."
CHANGING HORSES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREAM. The Democratic strategist who is John Kerry's closest adviser is Bob Shrum. This is an interesting choice. He is referred to by others in the business of having "The Curse". This refers Shrum's career of losing presidential campaigns. He has lost seven beginning with George McGovern and continuing to Al Gore. And, maybe, John Kerry will make eight.
Mr. Kerry is now down nine points leading Bush for much of the summer. This is despite continued fighting in Iraq and his party’s convention. His campaign is now compared to Al Gore’s.

This has got to make you worry about Mr. Kerry’s judgment. Why would you pick a guy with no wins and seven losses. It reminds me of the pitchers the Texas Rangers used to hire. I think their idea was, sure he never wins, but he was cheap.

It turns out former president Clinton has criticized the campaign, as has his former adviser James Carville. Kerry has responded by hiring several "Clintonistas" to help. I wonder what that will be like. Will Kerry start to "feel our pain"? Will he start having sex with his interns and campaign workers? Will he go on TV and angrily deny that there was anything wrong with this Vietnam, ah, service?

Kerry faces a risk here. If he switches horses, will that switch the message yet again? How many flip flops can he execute without executing himself? Clinton certainly flip flopped during his campaign. But, if I can borrow a line from a snide Lloyd Bentson, "I knew Mr. Clinton, and, Mr. Kerry, you are no Clinton."

Thursday, September 09, 2004

DUM, DA DUM DUM. "John Kerry's presidential campaign is in trouble." Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, MSNBC.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

YET MORE ON THE RELIGION OF PEACE. Muslims in London can celebrate the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks on America by attending a convention called "The Choice is in Your Hands: Either You're with the Muslims or with the Infidels".

Any suggestions for what America might do to mark the day?
BLOG EATER. Blogger has been eating my posts all day. Let's see if this one gets through, and I'll post some more.
EVEN MORE BAD NEWS FOR KERRY. You know things are not going well for the Democrat when even the Washington Post criticizes him. In an article today by Jim VandeHei, the Post chronicles Mr. Kerry’s flip flops on Iraq in recent weeks.

In early August, Mr. Kerry said he might have gone to war with Iraq had he been president. Then, his national security advisor said “in all probability” Mr. Kerry would have gone to war. Then, on August 24, the campaign issued a retraction.

Mr. K has also flip flopped on troop reduction. He began his campaign saying it was “impossible to predict” when troops could come home without talking to commanders in the field. Then he said the best idea might be to increase the number of troops. This summer he said his goal would be to reduce troops. In August, he told NPR he could significantly reduce troops in the first six months of the administration. In the last few days, he backpedaled (VandeHei’s word) saying he would reduce troops starting in six months and try to bring them all home within four years.

Why do flip flops matter? First, they matter because the voters cannot tell where the man stands on an issue to decide if they would vote for him. This is showing in the polls, as more and more people say they do not know what his positions are.

It also shows in the USA Today-Gallup poll showing the President has doubled his lead over Mr. Kerry on the issue of handling Iraq. He is favored 54% to 41%. This has happened, by the way, while the press has continually harped on the fact that the President is vulnerable on the Iraq issue, continues to splash every negative item on the front page of the paper, and continues to omit any good news. You have to go on the internet to find out the good news.

I think, however, that the flip flops raise an even greater issue. I believe some Americans perceive this. That is, the flip flops actually mean that Mr. Kerry does not really have a position on these issues. He does not really have an alternative plan or a better suggestion. His position is that he wants to be President and George W. Bush is in his way.

All politicians, at times, hold their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. But on the Iraq issue, the public feels that the President went to war because he believed it the right thing to do even in the face of political risk. They believe Mr. Kerry is trying to fashion a message that will sell, rather than a principle in which he believes.

Monday, September 06, 2004

TIM LAHAYE'S SEXY NEW BOOK. I'll bet you never expected to see that headline. TH's book, Babylon Rising, is billed as "Cool, Brainy, Sexy, and Valiant". And that is on! I'm suprised at Tim and I'm suprised at Crosswalk. The word "sexy" almost never appears in Christian advertising.

I can't really figure it out. TH has to have made more money than he can spend on the Left Behind books. Why resort to this type of advertising? It will be great fuel for his critics, some of whom already say TH has done for premillennialism what Bennie Hinn has done for evangelism.
BAD NEWS FOR FRANCE, TOO. The kidnappers of two Frenchmen now have new demands. They want a truce for Osama. Ok, so they aren't too smart. The French aren't pursuing Osama, we are. They want $5million. France could pay that with the money they got in diversions from the Oil For Food program of the U.N. So far, Frech diplomacy has not accomplished much for the kidnappers.

The French are really suffering everywhere. In Europe, they have been identified as the worst offender of the European Union's environmental laws. In France itself, 83% of the people are unhappy with the state of the country.

Unfortunately, their leadership still sees nothing wrong.
MORE BAD NEWS FOR KERRY. In addition to Time and Newsweek reporting polls showing the President ahead as much as 11 points, the President's approval rating in 52-53 percent, the highest since January. Despite Democratic claims to not care about this, Kerry is shaking up his campaign staff and bringing in former Clinton team members. The biggest problem there is, Kerry does not have the Clinton charisma. Clinton was the everyman, a small town kid made good. When he said he could feel you pain, you could believe him if you wanted to. Kerry, however, is the son of wealth and privilege trying to claim he cares about the common man. It is a harder sell.

Kerry has at least realized the Dean mistake: you cannot run by opposing policies supported by the majority. Duh. But Kerry has problems harping on the economy, too. He complains of the lack of jobs, but the national unemployment rate is 5.4%. In the past, that has been considered close to full employment. Six percent was a favored rate, as it meant inflation was less likely.

Kerry's idea to adding taxes to the top two percent is also seriously flawed. There are not enough of them to add significant revenue. That is why the call them 2%.

Oh yes. The magazines also reported that 52% of people polled wanted the President re-elected.

BAD NEWS WEEK. Newsweek has released its poll showing the President ahead of Kerry by 9 points. Considering that Newsweek staff gleefully admitted to attempting to sway the election to Kerry, it is significant for them to report this big lead for the President. Time Magazine reports a bigger lead. After some strange comments from Kerry this week that have been reported, the successful Republican convention, and these polls, it has been a bad week. Next week may be bad also, as Judicial Watch is claiming Kerry received illegal donations from the Chinese in return for helping the Chinese aerospace industry.
HAPPY LABOR DAY! I'm watching the Monk marathon. It is a great show. The Little Woman says that is because we are both OCD. I told her a person isn't OCD, a person HAS OCD. Anyway, Monk is great, but the Scooter Store is driving me crazy. They keep showing the same commercial over and over and it starts with "So and So is limited by her mobility". Aaargh! Who wrote that? Her mobility may be limited, but she is not limited by her mobility. OK, now that I got that off my chest, I have to go straighten the magazines on the coffee table before the next episode starts.

Friday, September 03, 2004

NOW THAT'S A BOUNCE. The Time Poll shows President Bush pulling significantly ahead of John Kerry. The poll is interesting because it concentrates on likely voters. Of these, 52% indicate themselves likely to vote for the President, compared to 41% for Kerry. The poll breaks the numbers down by issues also. Here is the significant one for me. 47% favor Bush on the economy over 45% for Kerry. Since that is supposed to be Kerry's most significant issue, that really hurts. Who says Americans can't do math. The only issue Kerry lead was in most likely to listen to their needs. The President topped Kerry on the economy, Iraq, and terrorism. Just two more months, Mr. President. Keep up the good work.
BRAGGING. I always like it when my wife brags on me. I figure, if anyone knows how I really am, it is she. If she knows that, and will still brag, then I must be doing well. It is also neat when your kid brags on you. Mine could never say "my dad can beat up your dad", so they had to resort to things like "my dad's read more books than your dad" and "my dad knows more Latin than yours". All the same, when those who know you best think you are doing well, it is worth a lot.

So, I'm touched by Laura Bush's brag on her husband at the convention. She said:

"He'll always tell you what he really thinks. You can count on him, especially in a crisis. His friends don't change -- and neither do his values. He has boundless energy and enthusiasm for his job, and for life itself. He treats every person he meets with dignity and respect; the same dignity and respect he has for the office he holds."
GALLANTLY STREAMING. Writing the Star Spangled Banner was not the only thing Francis Scott Key did by the dawn's early light. He also taught Sunday School. In fact, he was a leader in establishing the Sunday School movement. If you grew up Baptist, you probably think Sunday School has been around since the Disciples. Actually, it is, in historical terms, fairly recent. At least I think "fairly recent" is a historical term.

Key helped found the American Sunday School Union in 1824. So, I guess you can blame him for having to get up an hour early on Sunday. He was also part of the Mississippi Valley Enterprise, that sought to establish a Sunday school in every town in the Mississippi Valley. They did it, although it took 50 years and they thought it would take two. Is that what they mean by perserverance of the saints?

To top it all off, Key was elected to the Sunday School Hall of Fame.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

NOW I UNDERSTAND Why John Kerry would pose for that ridiculous picture in the white suit. He was lietenant governor for Michael Dukakis, the man who made the stupid looking picture in the tank.
CHENEY TO THE WORLD: George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip from the world to defend America. Yes!

NOTE TO THE DEMOCRATS. When I watched parts of the Democrat Convention, I did not see any Republican activists try to disrupt the proceedings. But I have seen it twice in the small amount of the Republican convention I have watched. I think it makes your positions and arguments look weak when you resort to disruption and violence to make your point. It almost concedes that you cannot compete on the level of ideas.

PREACH THE WORD. "Brethren, we must preach the doctrines; we must emphasize the doctrines; we must go back to the doctrines. I fear that the new generation does not know the doctrines as our fathers knew them."—John A. Broadus
TERROR UPDATE. The Chechens are on the move. As their presidential election approaches, the Chechens are taking the battle to the Russians through terrorism. On May 9, more than twenty people, including Chechen president, Akhmad Kadyrov, were killed in a bombing. In June, they attacked police facilities in Ingushetia and killed more than 90 people.

Last week, two air liners carrying 90 people were shot down. Investigation is pending, but a Muslim group has taken credit and trace evidence of explosives has been found on both planes.

Then a suicide bomber killed 10 people in Moscow.

Now, terrorists have invaded a school and taken the children hostage. This is about as low as it gets. The attackers wore suicide bomb vests. They killed at least two people during the takeover, including a father who tried to intervene. Nine other people were injured. It is also reported that an attacker was killed, so maybe the father had some success.

The terrorists threaten to kill 50 children for every terrorist killed by security forces. They threaten to kill 20 children for every terrorist wounded. They also warned they would blow up the school if police tried to storm it. They are making the children stand at the windows.
“In essence, war has been declared on us, where the enemy is unseen and there is no front,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said. We understand, Mr. Ivanov, and our hearts go out to you. Our prayer is that you get the children back safe and sound somehow.

No one is safe from terrorism. It is hard to fight. At whom do you strike? If a Saudi commits terrorism, can you retaliate against Saudi Arabia? The individual terrorist has to have money and support from somewhere. Can you retaliate against the supporters?

France has now learned even they are not safe. The Islamic Army In Iraq has kidnapped two French journalists. The French are stunned, as they stayed out of the war. However, there is that head scarf deal. The kidnappers in Iraq have said France has 48 hours to revoke the ban on headscarves in French schools. The French are understandably nervous, as these same members of the Religion of Peace executed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni.

One guy that really does not get it is French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, who said “I call for their release in the name of the principles of humanity and respect for human beings that are at the very heart of the message of Islam and Muslim religious practice.” He obviously is reading a different message of Islam than the Chechens and those attacked the World Trade Center.
France has sent diplomats to Iraq and Egypt. They are looking for a diplomatic solution, trying to find someone they can bribe or coerce into putting pressure on the kidnappers. In other words, they are looking for someone to whom they can surrender. If that is not successful, what will they do? Will they let the hostages be killed and complain about it? Will they revoke the headscarf ban? Will they strike back?

France may yet be forced to decide if it will join the West in resistance to the Muslim invasion or surrender and let the new Saladins take over. The fence they straddle is becoming more difficult to stay on.